Russians Yearn to Breathe Partly Free
The Statue of Liberty implores the world to send America all citizens who “yearn to breathe free.” But this may be a bit much to ask where the barbaric denizens of Russia are concerned. Perhaps, all we can ask for is those who wish to breathe partly free — such is the state of the benighted quagmire they call home.
One of our most-admired readers is known as “Penny” and last week directed our attention to the latest global press freedom survey by the internationally-known human rights institution Freedom House, which is doing yeoman work in plumbing the depths to which neo-Soviet Russia has descended under rule of KGB tyrant Vladimir Putin.
In 2007Russia ranked a startling #164, out of 195 countries surveyed for press freedom, and it was designated “unfree.” Russia ranked #170 out of 195 nations surveyed for press freedom last year, losing six places (it was one of only 64 countries to receive the shameful designation “unfree” last year, unable even to manage entry into the “partly free” group with lofty members like Guatamala, Lebanon and Uganda). Russia’s state of development was tied with Sudan and Yemen, company Russians ought to be ashamed of keeping. And now this year, Russia has lost even more ground, falling to #174 and behind both Yemen and Gambia. Only 21 nations on the planet had less press freedom than Russia, a member of the G-8 group of democracies.
FH’s report on the Russian Internet reveals that a feeble 21% of the country has Internet access — that’s right, 79% of Russians cannot get online. When you understand that, then you understand too how utterly ridiculous and outrageous it is for the Russophile apologists to claim that it doesn’t matter if the Kremlin controls all TV and newspapers, because the Internet remains free. Even if it were free, nobody can access it. And anyone who thinks an Internet where bloggers are arrested for writing posts and even posting comments can be considered free needs to have his head examined. FH classifies it as “partly free.”
Finally, a review of the annual FH reports on general political freedom yields truly ghastly insights into the nature of Russia’s current state of barbarism. The 2008 report shows Russia to be one of only a small handful of countries with a black arrow pointing down next to its entry, indicating that a clear trend of declining political freedom has been identified over the years. Egypt, Congo and Burma are other such countries. Here again, Russia is classified as “not free.”
Any Russian even vaguely familiar with his country’s history ought to be sickened by these facts. It should horrify any Russian who loves his children to consider the possibility that he might be foisting upon them a life no different that that lived by his great-grandparents, or even worse. And yet, the cowardly, craven citizens of Russia go on handing blank-check power to a clan of proud KGB spies and watching their precious liberty disappear bit by bit, year by year.